Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:
Rob, have you ever met your “good friend” John Bogle? Ever corresponded with him? Do you have any indication that he, or any of the others whose names you drop, have ever heard of you or your quixotic campaign?
I’ve “met” Jack in lots of different way, Curious.
I’ve “met” him by reading his books. Do you know what it takes to write a book? I do. It takes sweating blood if you do it right. When I read Jack’s book, I could see the blood on the pages where he did the sort of work you have to do to connect with people. I learned important things from reading Jack’s book. And, yes, you can bet your last dollar that that’s a form of “meeting.” Jack put in the effort needed to connect with me in his book and he succeeded and I learned something and that’s magic. Yes, we met when I read his book. We met and we spent a good amount of quality time together. And it was magic. And I won’t ever forget that.
And of course we had other “meetings.” I saw his happiness and I saw his pain in my “interactions” with him on the boards and in our e-mail “correspondence.” You don’t think that the joy that Jack takes in the good work he has done doesn’t come through in his interactions on the Bogleheads Forum and on the Vanguard Diehards forum before that? It comes through loud and clear to me, Curious. You don’t think I can detect the pain he is going through when Rob Bennett shows up and he has to break all the normal rules he follows because this Rob Bennett fellow is a younger version of himself and this Rob Bennett fellow is a young whippersnapper that is upsetting all the old apple-carts (“How did I get so old?” Jack ask himelf) and Jack feels that he now needs to play the role of the old gray fart that he used to do battle with back in the days when he had a bit more spring in his step?
I have a chapter in my book titled “Jack Bogle Started Out As a Little Boy.” That’s the story here, Curious. Jack is not a big building that kids visit on field trips. He is not a dusty photograph. He is not an image or an idea. Heaven help us all, he is not a Goon (perhaps in part, but certainly not in whole). Jack Bogle is a freakin’ human being. You do him a great disservice when you treat him as something other than that, as this weird presence that is the first being on Planet Earth that is not capable of Making a Mistake, this Severe Authority who speaks to us from Mount Olympus and Who Must Never Be Questioned and Who Knows All and who speaks with much authority and pomposity and who possesses no sense of humor at all. Jack Bogle is not Mel Lindauer!
He’s a freakin’ human being, one of the mistake makers, Curious. Just as you are when you remember what it was like to be a little boy with dreams and worries and hopes and love in your heart and not this Powerful Goon Presence. Jack is a mistake maker. He is a mistake maker who went to the big city and who had a big impact and who got talked into getting on the bad path and who knows in his heart today that he needs to find his way back to the good place but who doesn’t have too many true friends anymore, who are the only kind who care about you enough to help you back to the good place and not quite so much about how many coins they can trick out of you with their flattery.
Jack knows who I am. Jack wouldn’t have went running to Linduaer is he didn’t know who I was. Jack wouldn’t have been afraid to stand on a stage with me if he didnt know who I was. Jack wouldn’t have been afraid to respond to Rob Arnott’s e-mail if he didn’t know who I was. Jack wouldn’t have risked huge financial liabilities and a long prison sentence if he didn’t know who I was. Give me a friggin’ break.
I am Jack’s worst nightmare. I am his younger self. I am the honest Jack, the loving Jack, the smart Jack, the Jack who Jack wishes he could be today. You are the Goon who whispers in Jack’s ear: “You can never be that young Jack again! You are corrupted. You are old. You smell. I own you today, bad Jack. You will do what I say and you won’t ask questions. Mel will tell you to jump and you will ask Mel how high and you will humiliate yourself, Old Jack. You are a Goon’s plaything today, Old Jack, and don’t ever forget if you don’t want another whipping!”
Jack knows who I am because I am the Young Jack trying to take him back to a world that he worries is lost to him forever, the world of Young Jack and the world of honestly and the world of caring for your readers and the world of intelligence and the world of learning and the world of growth and the world of disassociating yourself from Goons because of your repulsion to the smell of them.
He pines for Old Jack. And he feels that he is not up to being Young Jack ever again. And he is wrong about that. But who could blame him for his confusion when he has slobbering Goons like you whispering in his ear?
Bill Bernstein is the same. Larry Swedroe is the same. Rick Ferri is the same. Wade Pfau is the same.
They ALL want to be clean again, Curious.
That’s my secret edge here.
It’s not really a fair game, is it?
Good luck going up against all my fine human friends, smelly Goon!
Does Jack know Jack? That’s the real question here. Does old, smelly Jack remember the young, smart loving Jack? He signals me even in his most fearful acts that he does.